A coaching mentor is usually a successful coach who is happy to help a younger/newer coach eager to follow in their footsteps.
A good one can help you become a more effective coach and attract coaching clients whilst avoiding the pitfalls that many newer coaches fall into.
Traditionally, mentors are retired or semi-retired and offer their services for free.
It’s one way of giving back and passing down wisdom and experience to the emerging generation.
Having an experienced coach as your mentor is much the same as hiring an experienced coach, only it’s entirely free.
At least for you.
It wouldn’t be free for me to mentor another coach.
I only see three clients per day and I’m not going to make that four simply because somebody isn’t paying me.
I need to invest as much time and emotional energy into a mentee (or pro bono client) a paying client.
As such, if I mentor somebody it means I’m waiving a third of my income for that day.
It’s not hard to understand that there would have to be a fucking compelling reason why I’d want to do that.
I had a guy email me last week wanting to know if I’d mentor him.
He went into a fair amount of detail about why he needed my help.
He then added a link to his website with a password to log in and a suggestion that I go and read more because he didn’t want to make the email too long.
My average email newsletter is around 250/300 words and I try to keep them all under 400 words
Longer emails can look overwhelming and every paragraph reduces the likelihood somebody will read to the end.
His email was 539 words long with the request that I click away from the email to continue reading.
Attracting a coaching mentor is hard – get to the point
Any type of outreach requesting somebody’s help requires you to get straight to the point.
It doesn’t matter if you’re asking for a review of your new book, a backlink to an article you’ve written, or a client to give you a testimonial.
Get to the fucking point as quickly as you can.
That relates to the email subject line as well as the body copy.
The subject line of this email was:
Well, I suppose it was short.
But it didn’t tell me anything and felt a tad spammy because it’s not a headline a friend or client would use.
As such, I opened it with, if not a sense of dread, certainly not brimming with intrigue.
When I then saw how long it was I thought, ‘bollocks, can’t I just play Quordle?’
Clearly, the sender had no clue that I’d open it at 6 am lying in bed.
Nor did he know, I’d be reading on my phone, or that I’d woken up with a bad back.
But that’s why it’s so important to be as clear and concise as possible because we can never know such things.
What to do if you have a lot of information to share
For every person who loves to read a lovely long(ish) email from a random stranger, 99 probably don’t.
If you cannot impart enough information quickly and concisely for the person reading to know how to respond, you can do one of two things.
- Explain it’s a preliminary email and you would welcome the opportunity to send more details if that would be ok
- Summarise the email at the start in a TL:DR style before giving all the details.
I much prefer the first option as it removes the risk of somebody scanning and wondering why Tolstoy had risen from the dead and was writing to them.
It also kicks into action certain psychological processes that can benefit you.
Asking for a small favour from somebody exponentially increases the likelihood they will give you a bigger favour later.
It’s a small favour agreeing to let somebody email you and it’s highly unlikely if they agree that they won’t then read what you have to say.
Don’t make the email about you
If you were to check my About page, you would see that it’s as much about my ideal coaching client as it is about me.
Other than some boring personal stuff I call boring stuff at the bottom of the page, everything is relevant to you as a coach wanting more paying clients.
Because the reality is, unless you know me, you don’t give fuck about me. Nor should you.
You only care what I can do for you.
You’re reading this blog post because it may in some way benefit you, not because you feel sorry for me and want to make me feel wanted.
This guy went to a lot of trouble to explain why he needed me.
He then suggested I read more about him.
At no stage did he tell me why I needed him.
What he could have done differently?
This was a classic example of how not to attract a coaching mentor.
But what could he have done differently to have really stood out?
Firstly and most importantly, he should have already been on my radar.
He told me that he’s been following me for a while, but he’d never emailed me before and had only been on my list for two months.
I had no clue who he was.
He could have joined The Fully Booked Coach Facebook group and interacted by asking questions and giving answers.
He could have commented on my blog posts, or shared them on social media and tagged me.
In other words, he should have started to form a relationship by adding value before asking for something of value in return.
If he’d done those things for a sustained period I’d have immediately known who he was.
It would have been a warm email rather than a cold one.
Let’s suppose he had done all that. Here is how he could have done things differently with his email(s):
Headline: Hi Tim, it’s Richard from your Facebook group
Sorry to bother you Tim, but I was wondering if I could put an idea to you that would benefit us both.
I’m respectful of your time and didn’t want to send you the details without asking first.
Would that be ok please?
How the fuck could I say no to that without looking (and feeling) like an utter douche?
It’s personal, respectful (and to be fair he was respectful. in his email) and super short.
And the moment I reply with a yes, he has my buy-in and could follow up with this:
Headline: Details as promised Tim, thanks for reading!
Thanks so much for agreeing to read my proposal, I really appreciate it.
As I’m sure you have noticed I’m active in your Facebook group. I get a lot from it and I love your no BS style.
I’m new to coaching and I’m super committed and a really hard worker.
I’m finding it tough at the moment and desperately need some guidance from somebody who has done what I desperately want to do.
Sadly, every penny I have is going into training, the basics of getting my coaching practice off the ground and feeding myself!
Hiring you to be my coach would be a no-brainer if I had the available resources, but I just don’t. At least not for now.
As such, I’m wondering if you would consider mentoring me for a period, please?
I know your time is valuable, but I’m sure you would get a lot out of it too.
As I said, I’m a really hard worker, but I’m also fun to work with and a super keen learner (as I know you are).
I’d be like your best ever client, just minus the cash in your pocket 😉
In return, I’d be happy to help you in any way I can. For example, as I’m in Australia, maybe I could keep an eye out for people being dicks in the group when you’re getting some well-deserved shut-eye?
I’m open to suggestions on how I could help you, so if you have any other ideas I’d love to hear them.
Plus, I’d be referring you to others and promoting your stuff online with gusto!
I would love the chance to chat on Zoom about this some more rather than go on and on. Time zones make that a tad tricky, but seeing as you’re considering the possibility of helping me, just name your time night or day and I will be there.
I’m not looking to mentor anybody at the moment (so don’t think this blog post is a tacit request), but that would have been tough to turn down.
It’s crazy hard getting a mentor, but the people who get them work crazy hard to do so.
Note: The guy’s name is Richard and he is in Australia but I have no wish to identify him any more than that. Which is why I haven’t shared his email talking about his training and niche.
He responded to my feedback very graciously saying he appreciated my no BS response. and that he learned a lot. Very impressive.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Especially if you want me to mentor you 😉
3 thoughts on “How to Attract a Coaching Mentor (to fast track your success)”
Wow! I didn’t even know people got mentors as they set out on their coaching journey; I thought the only such option was to pay a business coach. What an amazing and super helpful share. Many thanks.
They are few and far between Leonnie, butt they exist.
Just be careful of some coaches calling themselves mentors (presumably to add a layer of differentiation) and then looking to charge.
As always Tim, you are concise and clear. I learnt about your style of short emails and your about page… More importantly, how to creatively turn this request from Richard to a blog post that will benefit Richard as well. Cool!